Looking Into You: A Tribute to Jackson Browne
Various artists Music Road/The Planet Company JACKSON Browne made his mark as a precociously talented teenage songwriter well before he troubled the charts with his distinctive brand of west coast soft rock in the mid-1970s. It is surprising, therefore, that it has taken so long for a covers compilation to appear. It’s a comprehensive package, though, stretching across two discs, and the impressive roster of contributors ranges from Browne contemporaries to younger aficionados. Don Henley appropriately kicks off proceedings with
These Days, a song that Browne came up with at the tender age of 16, followed by Bonnie Raitt and David Lindley’s take on Everywhere I Go. The album contains several of Browne’s bestknown songs, from the unfailingly evocative
Running on Empty (Bob Schneider) and Fountain of Sorrow (Indigo Girls) to The Pretender (Lucinda Williams) and Late for the Sky (Joan Osborne), with one galling exception: the perennially topical Lives in the Balance. It would have been interesting to hear Bruce Springsteen have a go, but he and Patti Scialfa tackle Linda
Paloma instead — and, as one would expect, it’s a standout. Eliza Gilkyson delivers an exquisite take on Before the Deluge, and there are eminently listenable versions of For Everyman, Jamaica Say You Will, Rock Me on the Water, Rosie and Call It a Loan by Jimmy LaFave, Ben Harper, Keb’ Mo’, Lyle Lovett and Shawn Colvin respectively. It is hard to escape the sense, though, that a more adventurous approach to the songbook, with fewer of the performers reverentially adhering to the Browne template, would have yielded a more interesting album.